LSA15: Where Does Local Fit in the Programmatic Future

Mobile, video, display: the online world is increasingly seeing ad budgets move to programmatic platforms. To help understand the future for location and local advertisers in the programmatic world, Dorothee Bergin from xAd, Ian Dailey from Rocket Fuel, Luke Edson from YP and Victor Wong from PagerG discuss what is going on in the space.

Programmatic has a tendency to be misunderstood or viewed as a threat.  At its basic level, it is an automated way to buy and sell advertising as matched by set criteria.  Programmatic should be viewed as another channel to deliver ads on the same level that ads can be delivered online or offline. The panelists agreed that programmatic is the future of marketing with some going so far as to suggest that those who do not embrace it will be out of business in 3-5 years.

One of the myths about programmatic is that the “matrix” is a black abyss into which ads are dropped without any control of what happens once released. To the contrary, programmatic complements the trend towards more targeted advertising and reaching the desired audience.

From an advertiser’s perspective, by defining criteria that matches your customer profile, ads will be matched to inventory that reaches those customers.  And with the push of a button you can reach multiple properties instead of having to individually handpick them.  One panelist described the process as being able to cherry pick a needle in a haystack repeatedly throughout the day.  That means higher efficiency, lower costs, and better ROI.

From a publisher’s standpoint, the ability to reach buyers for your inventory across a much broader net of advertisers that are a good fit for your space means less wasted inventory.

Some have voiced concern about how this technology replaces the workforce.  But it really shifts the work around as opposed to cannibalizing jobs.  For example, the two major functions in marketing are creative production and media delivery.  Programmatic affects media delivery but not creative production.  Savings on media can be spent on more or better creative.

Further, a mistake commonly made is unloading inventory into programmatic without sufficient management.  Campaign management similar to traditional placement is still needed even if differently nuanced.

Ad placement in programmatic should be managed to optimize where they land, who sees them, how much is spent, and tweaked to define the numerous variables that would likewise be done for traditional ad placement.  Client relationships also remain a critical function of the workforce.

Today, all media channels are available in programmatic beyond desktop display including mobile web, video, native, paid search and others.  Premium inventory including private marketplaces and preferred placements are not only available, but can be accessed in groups through a single buy without direct contact with the publisher.

By its nature, programmatic is also transparent.  Advertisers see where ads are placed and can track metrics.  Publishers can see who is buying their inventory.  Lastly, programmatic opens opportunities for partnerships to help extend existing business and efficiently leverage expertise.

It will be interesting to see if programmatic does indeed sweep through as quickly as the panelists predict and dominate the market as thoroughly as expected.

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